.MOLE66 Ransomware Virus (CryptoMix) — How to Restore Files

.MOLE66 Ransomware Virus (CryptoMix) — How to Restore Files

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The MOLE66 virus is the newest variant of the Cryptomix malware family. It was recently discovered in an ongoing attack campaign that is spread using different methods. Once it has compromised a target computer it would encrypt the users data with the .mole66 extension and extort the victims for a ransom fee.

Threat Summary

Short DescriptionThe MOLE66 virus is a Cryptomix strain that encrypts user data, encrypts it with the .MOLE66 extension and extorts the victims for a ranosm fee payment.
SymptomsComputer users will be unable to access their data which is encrypted with the .MOLE66 extension.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, File Sharing Networks, Exploit Kits
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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss MOLE66.

MOLE66 Virus – Infection Spread

The Mole66 virus is newly released strain of the Cryptomix malware family which is being launched against victims worldwide. At the moment there is no information about the perpetrators, whether it is an individual hacker or a criminal collective.

The Cryptomix family and most of its strains are frequently delivered via spam messages. The most commonly used method is to send hyperlinks that lead to the virus infections. As always the hackers use social engineering tactics that attempt to coerce the victims into falling for the malware. A common way of doing so is by taking the text and graphics of famous sites and designing email messages that look like identical copies of them. The other method is to directly attach the Mole66 virus files to the messages.

Another convenient way to infect users on a mass scale is to spread the script directly onto payload files. In the last few years two file types have become the most widely used ones:

  • Infected Documents — The criminals embed the code into macros and the files can be of various types: rich text documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Once they are opened by the intended users a notification screen appears that asks them to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done then the threat will be downloaded from an external site and executed on the local computer.
  • Malware Installers — The hackers can the installer files of famous applications from their official vendors: utilities, creative apps and games. They are frequently placed on sites that imitate the legitimate download portals.

An effective solution that can be used with the MOLE66 virus is to embed the malware code into browser hijackers. They are malware browser plugins that claim to add beneficial features to the applications, while at the same time redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled page and harvest their personal data. The hackers use fake credentials, user reviews and an elaborate description in order to attract more interest. Furthermore the strains are available for the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.

The hackers can also create fraud download portals and various web scripts such as banners, pop-ups and etc.

MOLE66 Virus – Technical Data

The security analysis reveals that the MOLE66 virus is a new malware strain that is descendant from the Cryptomix family. It is very possible that the hacker or criminal collective behind it have acquired it from the black market.

The customized version does not follow the advanced behavior patterns found with other malware. We expect to see modules like the stealth protection which can protect the virus from being discovered by installed security software. The initial infection engine is programmed to scan for signatures belonging to anti-virus products, virtual machine hosts and sandbox environments. They are usually bypassed or entirely removed from the system. Some viruses also opt to delete themselves if they are unable to complete this step, this is done in order to avoid detection.

The next component that can be started is the data harvesting one. It is usually programmed to scan the whole contents of the infected machine for sensitive information. It is classified into two main groups:

  • Anonymous Metrics — They are usually composed of information about the hardware components, the operating system configuration and certain region settings values.
  • Private Data — The MOLE66 virus can be programmed into revealing data that can be used to reveal the victim’s identity — their name, address, interests, location, passwords and account credentials.

The next step would be to cause various system changes to the infected system, such steps lead to a persistent state of execution that makes it very difficult for the victims to restore their machines manually. The virus engine can impact the Windows registry, this can lead to application issues and overall perforamnce disruption. The ransomware can also impact the boot options thereby removing the possibility to boot into the startup recovery menu. That security analysis reveals that the Mole66 virus is programmed to delete all found Shadow volume copies of user data.

Advanced versions of the MOLE66 virus can institute a network connection with the hacker-controlled servers. When this is done the malware criminals may overtake control of the victim machines at any given time and spy on the users in real time. The network connection can deliver additional threats if such are intended.

MOLE66 Virus – Encryption Process

The ransomware module is started after all previous components have finished executing. Like previous Cryptomix variants it uses a prefenied list of target file type extensions:

  • Archives
  • Documents
  • Images
  • Backups
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Databases

One all victim data has been processed it receives the .MOLE66 extension. A ransomware note is crafted in a file called _HELP_INSTRUCTIONS_.TXT which reads the following:

!!!All your files are encrypted!!!
What to decipher write on mail alpha2018a@aol.com
Do not move or delete files!!!!
—- Your ID: ***** —-
!!! You have 3 days otherwise you will lose all your data.!!!

Remove MOLE66 Virus and Restore Your Files

If your computer got compromised and is infected with the MOLE66 ransomware virus, you should have some experience with removing viruses before tampering with it. You should get rid of the ransomware fast before it can spread further on the network and encrypt more files. The recommended action for you is to remove the ransomware completely by following the step-by-step instructions written below.


Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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